Individuals in the Workplatform. Exploring Implications for Work Identity and Algorithmic Reputation Management

Bellesia, Francesca (2020) Individuals in the Workplatform. Exploring Implications for Work Identity and Algorithmic Reputation Management, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Phd in management, 31 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9259.
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In the new world of work, workers not only change jobs more frequently, but also perform independent work on online labor markets. As they accomplish smaller and shorter jobs at the boundaries of organizations, employment relationships become unstable and career trajectories less linear. These new working conditions question the validity of existing management theories and call for more studies explaining gig workers’ behavior. Aim of this dissertation is contributing to this emerging body of knowledge by (I) exploring how gig workers shape their work identity on online platforms, and (II) investigating how algorithmic reputation changes dynamics of quality signaling and affects gig workers’ behavior. Chapter 1 introduces the debate on gig work, detailing why existing theories and definitions cannot be applied to this emergent workforce. Chapter 2 provides a systematic review of studies on individual work in online labor markets and identifies areas for future research. Chapter 3 describes the exploratory, qualitative methodology applied to collect and analyze data. Chapter 4 presents the first empirical paper investigating how the process of work identity construction unfolds for gig workers. It explores how digital platforms, intended both as providers of technological features and online environments, affect this process. Findings reveal the online environment constrains the action of workers who are pushed to take advantage of platform’s technological features to succeed. This interplay leads workers to develop an entrepreneurial orientation. Drawing on signaling theory, Chapter 5 understands how gig workers interpret algorithmic calculated reputation and with what consequences for their experience. Results show that, after complying to platform’s rules in the first period, freelancers respond to algorithmic management through different strategies – i.e. manipulation, nurturing relationships, and living with it. Although reputation scores standardize information on freelancers’ quality, and, apparently, freelancers’ work, this study shows instead responses to algorithmic control can be diverse.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Bellesia, Francesca
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
gig economy, gig workers, algorithmic management, algorithmic work, work identity, online labor markets, reputation, qualitative research
Data di discussione
7 Aprile 2020

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